Far Cry 6 is yet another traditional Ubisoft-style open-world game with an outrageously large map filled to the brim with mostly repetitive content. There’s nothing here that serves to evolve the franchise but if you enjoy that familiar cadence, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this new installment as much as the last few.
If you’ve played any Far Cry game over the past decade, you’ve essentially already played Far Cry 6.
Over the first two days of our week-long review period, I jumped in full of enthusiasm, eager to soak up as much digital sunlight in Ubisoft’s new open-world FPS as possible. By day three, though, I felt myself quickly growing apathetic.
That’s not to say the latest installment is outright bad by any stretch, purely just that it’s all been done before, numerous times. From the familiar narrative structure to the excessively large map littered with objective markers, bases to clear, and dozens of menial side quests, it’s another Far Cry game through and through.
If you have Ubisoft fatigue and are in search of a more innovative experience, one that pushes the beloved Far Cry franchise into new territory after three near-identical games and a handful of similar spinoffs, you won’t find that here. But if you just so happen to love the tried and tested formula, there’s no reason you won’t find another 50 or so hours of fun in Yara.
Far Cry 6 – Key details
- Price (Standard Edition): $99.95 (AUD) | $59.99 (USD) | £54.99 (GBP)
- Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
- Release date: October 6, 2021
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, Stadia, & PC
Far Cry 6 trailer
Mirroring Far Cry’s highest highs and lowest lows
Far Cry 6 follows the exact same structure as its predecessors. You’re dropped into a new map, there’s a big bad villain, and it’s up to you to fight back. Along the way, you’ll encounter all sorts of whimsical figures, clear dozens of hostile areas, and gear up for increasingly difficult fights.
This time around, Yara, a Cuban-inspired locale, serves as the backdrop for a tale of revolution. You step into the shoes of Dani Rojas, a military dropout that initially wants to flee the island but soon gets swept up in aiding the guerrilla cause.
Ubisoft won’t be winning awards for its storytelling here but it’s worth noting that Dani Rojas is one of the most likable protagonists in the Far Cry franchise. Rather than assuming the role of a silent killer once again, Rojas has a lively personality of their own. Whether it’s cussing out pesky creatures nipping at their heels or singing along with a tune on the radio, Rojas quickly became one of the more memorable characters in recent Far Cry entries.
Meanwhile, Antón Castillo is the main adversary in this story, serving as a nationalist figurehead intending to restore Yara to its former ‘glory’ by any means, all while trying to impose his fascist methodologies on an ambivalent son. Yes, Far Cry 6 is inherently a political game.
Giancarlo Esposito is as great as you’d expect him to be in the role of Far Cry’s looming antagonist. Castillo sits right alongside Vaas Montenegro, Pagan Min, and Joseph Seed as an exceptionally intriguing character whose mystery you can’t wait to unravel. It’s just a shame how little we see of this ruthless villain. Similar to previous entries once again, Far Cry 6 introduces Castillo with a powerful opening sequence, then you seldom see him until the game’s climax. Outside of a few brief cinematics, delivered at a predictable rhythm, his presence is rarely felt. You can quite easily go 15 hours without seeing or hearing any updates from the central driving force of the narrative.
Throughout the experience, Far Cry 6 bombards you with familiar piles of content. There are dozens of bases to capture, an endless stream of hostile areas to take over, countless civilians to rescue, a laundry list of side missions to tick off, a handful of minigames to master, and hundreds of vehicles, weapons, and pieces of equipment to collect. There’s certainly a lot of game, here.
On one hand, the cumulative substance could be perceived as immense value. You can stretch 50 hours out of Far Cry 6 if you took the time to see and do everything. Furthermore, there are even weekly updates on the horizon to ensure new reasons to return. Even if you reach 100% completion, there will always be something to come back for.
While it’s undeniably great bang for your buck, just how much of this content is actually memorable? If a vast majority of your time is spent mindlessly completing the same tasks over and over, is that better value than a tightly woven 20-hour adventure with none of the tedium?
For my money, Far Cry 6 overstays its welcome more so than previous entries in the franchise. While others certainly dragged in similar regards, the scope of Ubisoft’s latest release and the sheer amount of filler content spread across an oversized map makes the experience far too bloated. Even with much of this padding being optional, clearing key areas on the map still feels like a requirement before advancing the story, else you’ll be limited in your approach and constantly in hot pursuit from nearby forces.
In case you’re curious about the size of Yara, it’s big. Very, very big.
Outside of the core storyline and the unique side missions, almost everything here is copy and paste, by the numbers content. Go to ‘x’ location, clear out ‘y’ number of targets, reap the rewards, and head to the next one. No different from every other Far Cry game, and once you’ve experienced a handful of these, you’ve experienced them all. The only thing that changes is their position on the gargantuan map.
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Early on, it’s fun experimenting with new tools, figuring out enemy tendencies, and plotting the perfect course of destruction. After you’ve done that a few dozen times, it becomes a chore. Yara is relentless with its near-endless supply of familiar activities. In fact, every single time you fast travel there’s a character waiting for you to add even more markers on your map. The cycle never seems to end.
A not so lively open-world
While Far Cry 6 lets you pick the order in which to visit its three main regions, this freedom doesn’t help elevate the experience in any meaningful way. If anything, it actually detracts from the protagonist’s development.
On one of these islands, you might reach its climax with an epic final battle. One that has you destabilizing Castillo’s military by taking out numerous tanks and helicopters in one of the more thrilling set pieces in the game.
On the next island, it’s almost as though none of this happened. Your first mission in the new territory might be vandalizing a few propaganda posters as no one seems to be aware of your accomplishments in Yara. The locals throw you right back at the bottom rung as if you’re just starting out again, despite the fact that the forces at these three locations are all fighting for the same cause.
It almost feels as if these sections were developed independently and jammed together towards the very end. There’s very little in the way of cohesion as each island presents its own separate narrative with unique characters, themes, and events.
This division also works against the game’s overall pacing. Plodding through one island at a time essentially leaves the first group of characters in the rearview mirror as you advance the remaining islands. If you complete the first core storyline at the 10-hour mark, for instance, there’s every chance you don’t hear from its respective faction again for another 20 hours while you progress the others.
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There’s no crossover, no reminders of your previous actions, and absolutely no engagement from whichever characters you greet first until it’s too late to make a meaningful impact on the experience.
Playgrounds can still be fun
No different from every iteration before it, Far Cry 6 is at its best when you treat its landmass as a vast playground. Planning a perfect approach and executing a stealthy takeover, experimenting with various tools of destruction, and forging an optimal path through each territory is still some of the best FPS fun on the market.
Is it the exact same chaos as before, with equally goofy AI and repetitive objective layouts? Absolutely. If you didn’t like it in Far Cry 3, 4, 5, Blood Dragon, Primal, and New Dawn, you still won’t like it here. But if you’ve been a fan of the series all this time and can never clear too many markers from a map, you’ll feel right at home once again.
There are very few innovations to be found this year and of the limited new features that Ubisoft introduces, most fail to meet the mark. Take Amigos as an example, a handful of AI companions that can ‘help’ on your fight to reclaim Yara.
On paper, these should give you an extra leg up in any combat sequence just as they did in Far Cry 5. In practice, they often do the opposite as their nonsensical AI alerts nearby guards, sends the place into a frenzy, and more often than not, ruins your best-laid plans. Barely a few hours into the experience I disabled these Amigos altogether, just so there’d be no distractions to ruin any stealthy approaches.
Another new addition is the Supremo, an ultimate-esque ability capable of one dramatic effect with each cooldown. Whether that be a self-revive or launching a few quick rockets at nearby foes, these are flashy at first but do nothing to move the needle. A few hours into the game and it was all too easy to forget they even existed.
Though on the positive side, skill trees are now a thing of the past. Instead, Far Cry 6 opts for an equipment-heavy approach with buffs and abilities now tied to gear directly. Want to be more agile? Equip the boots with better movement speed. Want resistance to poison gas? Chuck the hazmat set on and you’ll be good to go. With every single piece of loot viewable in the menus from the jump, this gives you something to strive towards and a clear path to track down desired upgrades, rather than grinding through an extended skill tree to get the one perk you want.
Far Cry 6 does a great job of allowing you to really lean into your ideal play style. Whether you prefer the cautious strategy, scouting ahead and tagging enemies before sneaking through a base, or you’d rather push for an adrenaline-fuelled approach with no regard for being overwhelmed, you can build towards the perfect loadouts to compliment any method of your choosing.
Moreover, this gear system also comes with a transmog feature on day one, meaning you can pick your ideal set of abilities yet still change their appearance to match your favorite set. All in all, this is a welcome shift that gets you to your preferred builds much earlier than usual.
Over the course of 40 hours we spent with Far Cry 6 on the PlayStation 5, the game didn’t miss a beat technically. Graphics were stunning throughout, load times were quick, the frame rate never took a noticeable hit even in the most hectic scenes, and not a single quest bugged out. Considering the scope of Yara and the sheer quantity of things to do in the vast open world, Ubisoft deserves a huge amount of praise for the level of polish on display here.
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It’s worth noting, however, that in our brief review period with Far Cry 6, servers were offline. Thus, we were unable to test this iteration’s coop features ahead of launch.
If you’re a huge Far Cry fanatic hoping to drop dozens of hours into another visually stunning open-world, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy your time spent with Ubisoft’s latest installment. Far Cry 6 still does everything the same as before, so if you loved it then, you’ll love it now.
But if you were hoping for some notable additions, a pivot in the game’s overall structure, or just something fresh, you won’t find it here. It’s this lack of evolution in the franchise combined with a few key missteps that have the experience feeling more stale than usual.
Far Cry 6 feels like the franchise is begging for its “Assassin’s Creed Origins” moment, where its underlying core systems are tweaked and overhauled. It still offers plenty of fun and carnage, but the formula has begun to wear thin.
After three mainline entries with almost exactly the same structure, along with numerous spinoffs and expansions that hit the same notes, it’s definitely time for the series to either take an extended break or move on in a new direction.
Reviewed on PlayStation 5